Thursday, April 28, 2011

How You (yes, you) Can Organize The Best Birthday Party EVER For Your Child!

Your child's birthday party should be a time of fun and excitement. After all, you're celebrating another year in your child's short life. Time for merriment! Time for cake!

Then how come as parents, we dread it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the actual birthday that strikes fear into our hearts.

It's the, ba ,ba bum........BIRTHDAY PARTY!

Yes, it's true - our offspring want to celebrate in the biggest way possible and invite anyone they have ever met in their life, including the store cashier and the little girl they just saw in the sandbox a few minutes ago. But we disagree, we would like just the family and maybe one or two well behaved friends. With their moms. And a few extra babysitters thrown in for good measure.

Well, relax. I'm here to tell you it can be done. At home. (yes, I just said, gasp!, at home). And inexpensively. And it can be fun. No - it will be fun. I promise!

Admit it, wouldn't you rather give your child a birthday party they remember, with them being the star of the show, instead of farming the party out to a birthday party mill where your child is just birthday party #7 - of that day?

You would, you know it. You want to go for the brownie points, you just don't know how.

Well, here's the how. It's all about organizing. Straight from the person who has given many, many successful parties without needing Valium at the end.

Your easy birthday party organizing steps:
  • Pick a theme. Get your child's input into this, but your vote counts too. And forget about "princess" or "cowboy" as a theme. That's not a theme. That's what's on the plates. A theme is "Fairies Delight" or "Rodeo". Pick a theme with some meat to it, something that suggests activities. It makes all your other decisions fall into place. And you don't have to do it alone. There are great books out there that give you themes and ideas. Games, invites, even what food to serve. I especially love the Penny Whistle Party Planning series. Get one, get two, get the whole series. They will make you a kid's party planning expert. All your friends will ask you to throw their kids parties for them. Just say no. Lend them the books instead.
  • Make the guest list. I'm going to be firm about this. Only invite the same number of guests that your child is turning!!!!!!!! I cannot say this enough. If your child is turning 3, invite 3 guests. 4, 4 guests. And siblings count as guests!!!! You will want to invite the entire class. You will want to show off your party expertise. This is not the time to do it. Do that with grown up parties, since grown up guests are generally better behaved, and you can drink wine.  DO NOT INVITE MORE CHILDREN THEN YOUR CHILD'S AGE. Am I being clear on that fact? Make a mistake here and your party is doomed.....doomed I say. There will not be enough Valium in the world after that.
  • Pick the date & time.  Mornings are good. Naptime is not. After naptime is iffy. Right before dinner is bad. Best time choice for small children? 10:00 - 11:30. Older kids? 2:00 - 4:00 
  • Plan the food. I am a big fan of cake and ice cream. And water. That's it. Yes, I know most parties serve pizza, hot dogs, veggies that no child actually eats. I;m suggesting you buck the trend. Go simple or go home. In your invite clearly spell out that cake and ice cream will be the only food served.
  • Make a list of absolutely everything you will need for the party; invites, plates, napkins, equipment for games. You don't have to buy everything, borrowing things is fine. Just figure out exactly what you need, (again, the books are great for this), and procure all the pieces. Include the birthday child on the expedition. Do not include the siblings. See, the "special birthday fuss" is starting already. Your child will love the special treatment!
  • Send out the invites. Hand delivery is fun and easily accomplished since you are ONLY INVITING A SMALL GROUP! Do not send invites to school. Under any circumstances. You are only asking for trouble.
  • Make a schedule for the party. An actual time line. Write it all down on a small piece of paper so you can keep it in your pocket on party day. Plan more activities then you think you will need. Small children do not stand around and chat. Activities = good. Down time = bad.
  • Get everything ready and assembled in one place. The key to a great party is to have everything you need right at hand. Party time is not the time to go hunting string down. Have all game items organized and available in one bin or box.
  • On your mark, get set, go! Party time!
  • Be willing to go with the flow once the party starts. If the kids are happy digging for pennies in the sandbox, let them dig. If you don't get to all of your activities, no big deal. Your schedule,(that's in your pocket, right?), is meant to be a time frame reference. As long as you are having cake somewhere near the time you anticipated, all is good.
  • I suggest you plan for present opening time at the party. The kids always love it, and (sneaky hint here) then you don't need to send out thank you notes since your child thanked them in person! (It's in the etiquette books, look it up if you don't believe me. An in person thank you trumps a note).
  • Before you know it, the party will be over, your child will be happy and all will be good in the world.
  • Since you didn't take the expensive birthday party mill route, you should have enough money left over for pizza for dinner. And a glass of wine. You deserve it. 
be organized!.....evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too!

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